If you happen to walk in the front entrance of MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center on a Tuesday morning, the first friendly face you’ll see behind the front desk is Jean Mastropietro’s. That’s where she’s served for the last 12 years, helping visitors find their way when they come to the hospital and don’t know where to go.

“I really enjoy it,” said Jean. “I think it’s nice to be able to help people feel more comfortable when they come here.”

It’s just one of the ways Jean plays a big role in her community, which is really important to her, just like the hospital. When she moved to Lake Forest in 1964, the hospital wasn’t even built yet. She and her husband, Santo, had to travel far for medical care.

“I’m just so happy to have Saddleback so close to home,” she said. “I can’t say enough good things about the doctors and nurses. People just really care about you here.”

As another way to give back to the community, Jean has also provided numerous gifts to Saddleback Memorial Foundation over the years. She has donated in memory of friends who have passed, and she has honored physicians or staff members with what is known as Guardian Angel gifts. Her gifts have been designated to several areas, including Cancer Services, the Breast Center, Hospice, and Cardiology.

As a cancer survivor herself (she was diagnosed in 2001), she understands the importance of these charitable gifts to the nonprofit hospital.

“I just think that if a gift can help a certain department in some way, it’s better than giving flowers, which don’t always last long,” said Jean.

Her cancer battle helped her realize life’s frailty, so she seizes each day, staying busy in her community. When she’s not volunteering at the hospital, you might find her working with women of the Lake Forest Soroptimist Club, enjoying a trip with the local garden club, or helping out with the City of Lake Forest Activities Committee. This month she was helping check in floats for the city’s Fourth of July parade.

She knows she wouldn’t be able to lead such an active life today without Saddleback Medical Center.

“It’s been a big part of our community,” she said. “I can see what goes on and what they do for people here.”